To compare temporal trends of urogynecologic mesh medical device reports with sentinel U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notices and to examine all linked reports of patient death.
The Reed Tech Navigator is an online tool used to extract and analyze data in the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database. We used FDA product codes to search for reports of synthetic mesh for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Reports with “death” listed as a patient event were queried further.
There were 43,970 medical device reports involving urogynecologic mesh reported to the FDA between August 2000 and January 2019, with most occurring after the 2011 FDA communication (n=43,018, 97.8%). Of these medical device reports, 64.6% (n=28,422) were for SUI products, 27.0% (n=11,876) were for transvaginal POP products, and 8.4% (n=3,672) were for transabdominal POP products. Peak reporting occurred in 2013, which corresponded with the first major plaintiff verdicts and class action vaginal mesh settlement. There were 645 (1.5%) medical device reports of death, with 49.3% (n=318) having no cause of death identified. Only four (0.6%) could be directly attributed to the initial surgery.
Since 2011, urogynecologic mesh has been the focus of thousands of medical device reports annually, although the data submitted are often incomplete. Few reported deaths are directly attributable to mesh products, and the majority lack sufficient information to draw causal conclusions. A high-quality registry is necessary to improve our understanding of the patient effect from urogynecologic mesh products.